24/07/12 - Author: admin

Once upon a time not that long ago, most Aussie anglers fished for the table and success was usually measured in how many fish were stuffed in the esky at the end of the day.

These days many anglers go fishing, catch plenty, come home with nothing for the pot, and yet still consider it to have been a good day. Catch and release has become the norm — not just for fish that are undersize or considered poor table fare, but tasty fish as well. Obviously vulnerable species like Australian bass, estuary perch and cod are the number one catch-and-release targets, but barra, bream, big flathead and even snapper are being set free in increasing numbers.

( Environet)

But if you’re going to become a catch-and-release practitioner, you’ve got to do it right.

First up, flattened barbs. Squashing the barbs down on your lures with a pair of ARG pliers not only makes it easier to release the fish quickly and with less stress, it will be a less painful experience if you ever pinned by a wayward lure. You won’t necessarily lose any more fish as a result of flattening the barbs, and the fish will repay your kindness by being available to breed and prosper.

Secondly, get yourself an Environet. The brainchild of the late Dave Irvine, a dedicated thinking angler who really cared about the survival of his favourite species like bass, cod and jacks, the Environet has no knots to damage to the fish’s all-important mucus layer, the mesh is fine enough to let the water move through it, but not so large that the fins can become frayed, and hooks don’t get caught up in it either.

They are the only option if you’re serious about the health of the fish you intend to release. This is not hype to sell more Environets — it’s an undisputed fact.

A few years ago, Northern Territory Fisheries scientifically assessed the effect knotted and knotless nets had on barramundi at the Territory Wildlife Park. Fish were placed in the two nets for 60 seconds, and then released into an aquarium where any damage to the fish could be assessed. The knotted mesh resulted in split fins, skin abrasions and missing scales, while the barra netted in Environets remained in pretty good shape. While damaged fins and missing body slime is not immediately fatal, it can lead to skin infections later, and sick fish are vulnerable to predation from crocodiles and sharks.

Consequently, in most barra, bream and bass fishing tournaments, non-knotted nets like Environets are mandatory.

The Environet story has been one of constant product development and evaluation, from early models with enclosed sides, to open weave mesh that no longer snare the trebles on your Stiffy Twitch Bait barra lure.

So if fishing Tassie or the Territory and you intend to release some or all of your catch, use an Environet. You owe it to the fish and the future of fishing in this country.

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